SHORT-LIVED ZAND DYNASTY 375 Husayn Khan was at a disadvantage owing to a quarrel with the chief of the rival branch of the Kajars, which reduced his strength. Forced to fight, he held his ground as long as there was any hope, and then attempted to escape, but was recognized by the chief of the upper branch/ who pursued and killed him, This ended the "triangular duel between the three claimants, from which Karim Khan by reason of his personal popularity emerged victorious, although frequently unsuccessful in the field. The Reign of Karim Khan, A.H. 1163-1193 (1750- 1799).—The total length of Karim Khan's reign was twenty-nine years, and for over twenty he was undisputed ruler of Persia. He refused the title of Shah—the puppet Ismail was kept in captivity at Abadeh—and termed him- self Vakil) or Regent. Shiraz was his capital, and the fine buildings, of which it still boasts, were all erected by him. Of his justice, his sense of humour, and his kindliness, I heard many instances when living at Shiraz, where his name is still loved and revered. To give a single instance, he was so anxious that his subjects should be happy that if in any quarter of the town no music was heard he invariably inquired what W&a wrong, and paid musicians to play there. To quote a Persian writer, " The inhabi- tants of Shiraz enjoyed the most perfect tranquillity and happiness. In the society of moon-faced damsels they passed their leisure hours ; the sparkling goblet circulated ; and love and pleasure reigned in every breast." In close touch with the people, affecting no state and yet shrewd and capable, Karim Khan gave exhausted Iran two decades of sorely needed rest, and when he died at a great age the homely Zand chief was genuinely and* deeply mourned.1 The Occupation of Kharak by the Dutch.—During the anarchy that prevailed in Persia the Dutch Government, whose representative, Baron Kniphausen, had been ill- treated and imprisoned at Basra, seized the island of Kharak at the head of the Persian Gulf. This act enabled Kniphausen to blockade the Shatt-ul-Arab and compel the Governor of Basra to make full amends for his mis- 1 In A Tour to Sheeraz, by E. S. Waring (1808), an interesting account is given of Karim Khan and the later Zand Princes.